Whispers of a Forgotten Winter

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
How do you even begin to deal with it all? Nobody knows for certain until the situation actually occurs. Adapting to your new life, and coping with the past can break most people. Do you crumble, or persevere?

Submitted: September 21, 2016

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Submitted: September 21, 2016

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“What're you afraid of? Heights, or is it spiders? Maybe it's death that scares you. The thought of everything ending, not being able to see the people you loved anymore, and not knowing what's on the other side, does it scare you? You know what scares me? Being forgotten completely, that scares me. Sure death is scary, but you're not truly dead until everything about you is forgotten. ‘You're alive in our hearts.’ It's true, the memory lives on, you're still alive to them, the person doesn't fade from their hearts. Once it does though, there's nothing. There's nobody left to remember you. You're dead, it's like you never existed. Maybe that's what truly scares me, never existing, not existing. So don't you ever forget about me. Don't let me die.”

I felt his grip loosening from my hands. They were cold and clammy. The blood had already drenched my boots, my socks, my pants, all of it was red and heavy. He didn't look afraid. He had the look of pity on his face, pity for me. I still had to endure. I had to live with his death, this bloody scene, this world, and future scenes to come. We both knew this would continue to happen with them here.

“Hey, I'm getting tired now. It's been so long. I haven't had a good night sleep for months.”

“Go ahead, I think it's time we get some shut eye.”

“Wake me up, when it's morning.”

“You bet.” I said smiling.

He smiled back at me. He readjusted his head to a more comfortable position. I did the same. The glow from the fire and gunshots like the night a beautiful orange. It was like something out of a painting.

I left early that morning. My body ached, but alone, I walked 7 miles to the nearest safe zone. It wasn't any better there. The desperation of the situation was apparent. Tattered tents, lines for food, and trash everywhere. Arguments over who gets what, how much of what, why not this. When we heard of these zones, I thought we could get some food, good food, and clean water. It looks like I was just being naive. I should've realized, there's at least a few thousand just like us. A safe zone covers a region, not like just one town or city.

I walk through the gates, past the tall concrete walls that seem to touch the sky, covered in graffiti, blood, and bullet holes. To my left I see a bulletin board. It's covered in letters, missing signs, wanted posters even. There's even papers with insignias on them, looking for recruits. That's something that would've happened eventually. When whole areas started getting glassed people who survived would walk, seemingly forever. Often, they'd come across others like them, and choose to stick together. After losing everything, I wouldn't want to be alone either. Eventually these bands of people would settle down, create a camp. Others would come from wherever, stay a while, and join them. Eventually these just turned to factions. Some tried to do good, collecting resources for the weak and hungry so they didn't have to. A few just turned to being a big gang. Killing, raping, taking food and guns, leaving them for dead.

I think I'll just take care of myself now. Besides, having to look out for another person is trouble. I know that now.

After I stood in line for hours, I managed to get a few stale pieces of bread, some crackers, and water. It isn't the most appealing thing, but apparently they start cooking any meat they have right now for dinner. When I was out, I'd hunt small animals. Rabbits, those were a luxury, there wasn't no setting traps, or chasing them out of their homes. I ate rats. I ate any birds I saw. Urban, or suburban areas aren't filled with animals like deer or fish. When you don't know when your next meal will come, you'll eat anything.

Various fires around camp gave me the light and warmth I needed to eat comfortably. In the darkness I could see a figure. It was standing to my left. It was trying to hide from me, but it's presence just screamed “LOOK AT ME.” Whoever they were, they were painfully noticeable.

“Hey, it's warmer near the fire.”

There was only silence, but their squirming told me they were giving it some thought.

“Come on, I'll give you some of my bread.”

I didn't want to, I'm actually very hungry. Unfortunately, their sneaking is making me anxious, I can barely enjoy my food.

I cut off a piece with my knife and place it on some spare cloth I had.

The figure squirms a little longer, but eventually they rise. It's a little girl.

I often see children wander the camps, alone. They don't do a lot, since they're so small and easily go unnoticed nobody pays attention to them. Out there, it's much worse. Most children I come across are usually dead. Many lay face down in the snow, or are huddled in a corner, clutching what seems to be a sibling. They can't fend for themselves. Some of the gangs will recruit them, and use them for child labor, or they'll take all their belongings and kill them on the spot.

She attacked the bread savagely. It looks as if she hasn't eaten in days (she probably hasn't). I decided to give her the rest of my portion.

For the longest time I said nothing. She ate, and so did I. The fire crackled and waved in the night. The cool breeze was negated by the warmth of the fire. This moment was as peaceful as it could get.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

She glanced at me, then returned her gaze to the bread. Maybe she had forgotten, possibly because there was nobody to even ask her what it was.

“What was it mommy used to call you? Do you remember mommy? What would she say as she called you?”

She pulled the bread from her face and looked to me. Softly, she spoke.

“Aimee."


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